Jiang Lin and Qin Feng had organized this get-together specifically for the chance to be in the limelight. Both were singers and shared an agent. The agent was worried sick for them. With increasing viewership due Mo Sui’s participation, this show should have been a good opportunity for the couple to get some attention. And yet, it was already the second day of filming, and their live broadcast room still only had a few thousand viewers.
The agent said that their broadcast room lacked in activity and liveliness, and that they needed to find ways to increase engagement. The couple thus began to brainstorm ways they could generate topic points that would enliven discussion.
Hearing Zhuang Ruyin’s words, Jiang Lin immediately wanted to go inform Mo Sui. Instead, Mo Sui suddenly said she wanted to go home to grab something and would take some time to return.
Jiang Lin was forced to swallow down the words she wanted to say. By the time she recovered, she saw that Zhuang Ruyin was now wearing a gentle smile.
“You’re An An, right? Look how cute you are.”
An An took a small step backwards. This grown-up had called her an orphan; she definitely wasn’t friendly.
“My name is Zhuang Ruyin, you can call me Big Sister Yinyin.”
An An pursed her lips and said nothing. She felt like she had seen this person before.
“You’re so shy,” Zhuang Ruyin said, smiling. “A child should be lively, that’s how children are.” She paused, then said, “The other children are all very polite, An An should try to be more like them.”
Zhuang Ruyin disliked this child from the bottom of her heart. This little kid had no background. What right did she have to take the card from her husband, when he stood there, humbly bowing? Perhaps from a bystander’s point of view, this was a heartfelt interaction, but Zhuang Ruyin only felt shame.
She could do nothing to Mo Sui, but she could deal with a four-year-old child. Orphanage children had naturally low self-esteem; a single reproach from an adult was often enough to make them start crying.
And not even the most child-loving viewer would like a crying child.
Quietly enough that only An An could hear, Zhuang Ruyin added, “Big Sister only wanted to tell you that you must improve your temper. Nobody likes children like you.”
As expected, An An’s eyes reddened upon hearing Zhuang Ruyin’s words. The little dumpling’s small hands clutched anxiously at the edges of her dress, as if she’d done something wrong, and shrank to the side.
The program staff had told her that, no matter what she did wrong, she wouldn’t be thrown away. But the auntie at the orphanage cafeteria had said that children on the show had to behave, and that if she didn’t, she would disappoint the granny dean and be sent back.
An An liked her intern mother. She didn’t want to leave her so soon.
The child’s pale ears turned bright red. Her mouth curled downwards, as if she was about to cry.
Only then did Zhuang Ruyin stand up, and say bewilderedly, “Sorry, we were just chatting when she suddenly started crying. It’s her first time somewhere unfamiliar, maybe she got scared?”
Zhang Jinming hugged his wife’s waist with a smile and said, “ It’s not your fault. She’s too shy.”
It seemed like everyone thought An An was in the wrong. Even she herself thought so. Seeing how widely Li Li and Ni Ni smiled, An An lowered her eyes once more, seeming all the more lonely, like the lone little scarecrow on an abandoned field.
【 This child really is too fragile. Does she have a heart of glass, crying after only a couple sentences? Such a sensitive child should be difficult to get along with. 】
【 Upstairs, are you serious, heart of glass? Can you be a bit more understanding when it comes to children? An An clearly wants to cry, but can’t you guys see how she’s biting her lips and holding her tears in, not wanting to trouble the adults? 】
【 Everyone was once a child. If you guys had this kind of background, could you guarantee you’d be stronger than An An? 】
As the bullet comments section worked itself into a furious debate, Mo Sui returned. The viewers all thought that, with her personality, Mo Sui would definitely disdain An An’s current state. After all, she didn’t seem to be someone who would coax a child. In that instant, everyone grew anxious for the little dumpling.
Mo Sui, seeing An An’s pitiful appearance, asked, “What’s wrong?”
Zhang Jinming immediately went to explain on behalf of his wife. However, perhaps fearing he could not do so clearly, he spoke at high speed and included quite a few irrelevant details.
Zhuang Ruyin went straight to the point. “I was just greeting her, asking her to call me ‘Big Sister,’ but she was too scared, and even hid away. I didn’t know she was so timid, I’m very sorry.”
Mo Sui looked at An An again, whose pink face drooped, and whose hands hung as if she didn’t know where to put them.
“There’s no need to reproach her. She just has a bad temperament, she didn’t do it on purpose,” Zhuang Ruyin said sympathetically.
Unexpectedly, before she’d even finished speaking, Mo Sui’s expression turned baffled. “Why would I reproach her?”
Zhuang Ruyin was taken aback.
“Say hello to Auntie,” Mo Sui said.
“Hello Auntie,” the little dumpling said softly, as she wiped the corners of her eyes.
Zhuang Ruyin’s smile froze. The air suddenly seemed oppressive.
“She has a very good temperament. At least, I haven’t seen any problem,” Mo Sui said coldly.
Jiang Lin forcefully nodded her head. “She’s just couldn’t call you ‘big sister,’ and was scared to tears by you.”
Zhuang Ruyin’s face flushed violently red. “I didn’t realize her situation, and misunderstood...” The kid was just some amateur little guest, why would the ever-cold Mo Sui willingly stand up for her?
“What is there to misunderstand? Isn’t it just that you saw a child without her parents’ love and protection, and decided to bully her?” Jiang Lin muttered. Only when Qin Feng tugged at the corner of her clothes, shaking his head, did she purse her lips and swallow the rest of her words. She agreed to be gentle, virtuous, and kind; she couldn’t abandon that role.
【 I was wondering what was going on, so she was trying to force the kid to call her ‘big sister,’ and forced her to tears. 】
【 She’s an honest child, she could immediately tell whether she should greet ‘Big Sister’ or ‘Auntie.’ 】
【 The kiddo has a great personality, how was she impolite? Mo Sui backed up her cub, very nice! 】
【 Why do I feel that Zhuang Ruyin is a schemer? Truly a match with her husband. 】
Zhuang Ruyin, face flushed bright red, acted like nothing was wrong and went to sit down to eat.
Mo Sui gave An An the children’s water bottle she’d gone home to retrieve. An An held the little bottle, opened it, and gulped down a large mouthful of water. After drinking, she gently wiped the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand, then peeked at her intern mother.
Her intern mother had just said that she had a very good temperament. The little dumpling blushed shyly, satisfied.
【 I saw before that Li Li and the little upstart both had their own cups, so could drink whenever they wanted. 】
【 So Mo Sui also noticed, and specifically went home to grab one for her kid? 】
【 Though she doesn’t talk much, and won’t kiss or hug the cub, but her silent care is still heartwarming. 】
Jiang Lin had prepared a table full of side dishes, as well as a bowl of rice for everyone. Just as she placed the bowl of rice before Mo Sui, however, she suddenly seemed to remember something. “Ah, Mo Sui-jie, you don’t eat rice, right?” Having said that, she ran back to the kitchen, took out a plate of vegetables and salad, and jogged back.
Qin Feng said, “Xiao Lin is a very thoughtful person, she’s always considering everyone’s needs.”
Mo Sui saw through it. This was just another scene Jiang Lin gave herself to play.
Zhuang Ruyin, who had already eaten a couple mouthfuls of rice, paused. She said to Jiang Lin, “Could I ask for a serving of salad too?” She was also an actress; though she was not currently active, she also had to maintain her figure, so that she would be ready to join the cast at any time.
“There isn’t anymore salad left,” Jiang Lin said in a regretful tone. “But you’ve already eaten from your bowl. If you don’t want it anymore, who will eat it then? Wouldn’t that be too wasteful?”
Zhuang Ruyin immediately glanced at Zhang Jinming.
Zhang Jinming said, “I also have a large bowl here, it’s enough. Ruyin, a bowl once in a while is fine. If not, you can always exercise for a couple hours when we get home. Don’t mind all that, let’s just relax today.”
Zhuang Ruyin hurriedly kicked him under the table.
【 So are female celebrities’ diets that restrictive? Even my six-year-old daughter eats more than half a bowl. Would she have to exercise for two hours when she gets home to burn that off? 】
【 I’m one of Zhuang Ruyin’s fans, I used to follow her XiaoMouShu account. She said that since young, she’d been unable to gain weight, and made a lot of people jealous. Everyone said she was naturally beautiful. 】
【 So all the food blogging pictures she posted on her account, who ate them in the end? She’s really just a liar! 】
【 But still, Zhuang Ruyin actually still has fans? Can the program team make this liar go offline? She’s irritating, and even bullied the cub. 】
The apartments the program team had rented weren’t very big. To better bring out that warm and happy atmosphere of a family eating together, even the dining table was excessively small, and could barely even seat four to five people.
Luckily, Jiang Lin had prepared beforehand. She gave each child a divided plate loaded with food, and brought the plates to the children’s room for them to eat.
Upon entering the room, Li Li began to direct his little pals to sit, like a little master. The three children sat at the little table, and picked up a pair of children’s chopsticks in one hand and a small spoon in another. There was even a glass of Wang Zai Milk placed before each child.
Wang Zai Milk was a beverage the children did not often get to drink. Now, three pairs of eyes stared at the packaging, as the children swallowed their saliva.
“I know how to open it!” Li Li tore open the straw packaging and helped the other two little guests.
Li Li had closed the door to the children’s room. The three children ignored the food, intent on finishing their drinks.
【 Hahahaha, Li Li and Ni Ni are also both wearing red, it really looks like a scene out of a village’s New Year’s Eve feast. 】
【 Are they scared that the adults will confiscate their drinks? They drank it all in a single gulp. 】
【 In the end, it’s when the children gather together that’s the most healing. You have three types of little cubs all squeezed into a pile, it’s too adorable. 】
【 Still––that Ni Ni, wasn’t she really unruly before? I wonder if she’ll bully An An without adults around. 】
However, it was very clear that everyone had thought too much. At the very least, Ni Ni had no time to bother anyone before finishing dinner. After finishing their drinks, the three children began to eat, each at their own pace. Inside the apartment, there was only the sound of chewing and swallowing.
The viewers then realised that the little dumplings wouldn’t talk during dinner. As for after the dinner, that took quite some time.
Ni Ni patted her rounded little belly and looked at An An sitting across from her. An An, aware of her gaze, raised her little face, an innocent smile on her pudgy cheeks.
Ni Ni’s small hand remained on her food-filled little belly. It really was difficult to hit a smiling man.
1. Diminutive of Ruyin. Repeating a syllable twice sounds cutesy, and is something usually done by children. Since modern Chinese given names are usually two syllables, this often means the non-repeated syllable is no longer said. ↩︎
2. Slang for previous poster/commenter. ↩︎
3. Jie (姐) = big sister. ↩︎
4. Diminutive of her given name, Lin → Xiao (小) Lin = Little Lin ↩︎
5. Product displacement of XiaoHongShu (小红书), which is like a Chinese version of Instagram. ↩︎
6. The original internet slang "srds" (虽然但是) is the abbreviation of a hilarious shortened version of the "虽然...但是..." format (although...still...). A lot of internet slang will be abbreviated with the first letter of each character's pinyin. ↩︎
7. A plate that comes pre-sectioned for different portions and/or food groups. ↩︎
8. Actually quite a popular drink. It's not milk, but a "milky" beverage that is very sweet. ↩︎
9. It's custom to wear red during New Year's celebrations (and also many other festivals/special occasions). ↩︎
10. A saying (伸手不打笑脸人) that it's difficult to go against someone who's being friendly/polite towards you, due to various reasons. It could be seen as you being the impolite/unreasonable person, or because it's hard to get momentum against someone who's not actively being hostile/threatening, because their demeanour deflates your own emotional state, etc. ↩︎